Postgraduate research 

Animal Ecology PhD/iPhD/MSc (Research)

Seabird on a rubbish strewn beach

We aim to predict the consequences of rapid environmental change such as that due to climate, habitat loss, renewable energy growth, pollution and over-exploitation of natural resources on biodiversity and human and animal health.

  • PhD: 3-4 years full-time; 5 years part-time;
  • MSc (Research): 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time;

Overview

The environment is changing faster than at any time in recorded history due to a range of factors including climate change, habitat loss, renewable energy developments, pollution and over-exploitation of natural resources. These changes are having profound effects on biodiversity and human and animal health, and we need to be able to predict the consequences.

Our institute integrates studies of the effects of environmental change operating at all levels of biological organisation. For instance, at the cellular level we are investigating how environmental conditions influence physiological and molecular processes including metabolism, oxidative damage, telomere loss and the rate of ageing. This is linked to studies of how individual animals and plants cope with environmental fluctuations, and how in turn this influences population dynamics, species interactions (including those between parasites, vectors and their hosts) and community structure. We conduct both short-term experiments and long-term monitoring of wild populations (at a range of field sites including loch and woodland research programmes at SCENE, our field station on the banks of Loch Lomond).

We have many links to other research being undertaken both within the institute and the wider university. For example:

  • the effect of environmental conditions on disease transmission or food production
  • investigation of how animals evolve in the face of changing environments
  • links with geographers, statisticians and mathematicians in the College of Science and Engineering

A variety of approaches are used, including collection of experimental and observational data, epidemiological, mathematical, computational and statistical modelling, bioinformatics, physiology, parasitology, immunology and polyomics (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics). Individual research projects are tailored around the expertise of principal investigators within the institutes.Basic and applied science projects are available involving field, laboratory and in silico approaches within research programs underway in both the UK and overseas.

Specific areas of interest include:

  • conservation management of African ecosystems
  • protected area management
  • measuring biodiversity and abundance (this presumably overlaps with other themes)
  • human dimensions of conservationAquatic ecosystem connectivity
  • sustainable aquaculture
  • behavioural and physiological approaches to improved production and welfare of farmed fish
  • evolutionary ecology, life-history trade-offs and phenotypic evolution
  • long-term effects of early environments on adult performance
  • phenotypic plasticity and flexibility in variable environments
  • ecology and physiology of marine animals
  • effects of Marine Protected Areas
  • effects of climate change on the abundance, body size, physiology and behaviour of aquatic organisms
  • fisheries-induced evolution
  • applied poultry science
  • evolutionary processes within rare fish populations
  • conservation strategies for rare and endangered fish and bird species
  • control of invasive non-native species
  • impact of freshwater and marine renewable technologies on fish
  • evolutionary and ecological impacts on parasite life cycles
  • avian behaviour and  ecology, including both marine and terrestrial birds
  • changes in phenology and in daily rhythms
  • migration and movement of birds, mammals and fish
  • understanding how biological clocks affect organisms' response to environmental change
  • effects of urbanisation on health of individuals, populations and ecosystems
  • effects of light pollution
  • understanding how biological clocks help or hinder organisms' adjustment to environmental change
  • cold adaptation in marine mammals and birds
  • the effect of environmental stress on the physiology, behaviour and life histories
  • applied poultry science
  • ecology of neotropical rainforest birds
  • the effect of fishing practices on the evolution of wild fish populations (fisheries induced evolution)
  • the effects of animal physiology and environmental change on animal social behaviour and collective decision-making
  • effects of exposure to pollutants on physiological systems
  • possible transmission of antimicrobial resistance between species through environmental pollution
  • effect of climate change and deforestation on vector-borne disease
  • data-driven modelling of population dynamics and epidemics
  • developing new methods for species distribution modelling

Study options

PhD

  • Duration: 3/4 years full-time; 5 years part-time

Individual research projects are tailored around the expertise of principal investigators.

MSc (Research)

  • Duration: 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

Entry requirements

A 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • 6.5 with no sub-test under 6.0. 
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission to this programme:

TOEFL (ib, my best or athome)

  • 90 with minimum R 20, L 19, S 19, W 23. 
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

PTE (Academic)

  • 60 with minimum 59 in all sub-tests.
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

Glasgow International College English Language (and other foundation providers)

  • 65%.
  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses

  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.


Alternatives to English Language qualification

  • Undergraduate degree from English speaking country (including Canada if taught in English)
  • Undergraduate 2+2 degree from English speaking country
  • Undergraduate 2+2 TNE degree taught in English in non-English speaking country
  • Masters degree from English speaking country
  • Masters degree (equivalent on NARIC to UK masters degree) taught in English in non-English speaking country.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:

Fees and funding

Fees

2021/22

  • UK: £4,500
  • International & EU: £23,000

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

Additional fees for all students:

  • Re-submission by a research student £540
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £1,355
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £350
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £790

Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee (also known as research support costs) to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

Alumni discount

We offer a 20% discount to our alumni on all Postgraduate Research and full Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes. This includes University of Glasgow graduates and those who have completed Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School with us. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

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2020/21 fees

  • £4,407 UK/EU
  • £21,920 outside EU

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

Additional fees for all students:

  • Re-submission by a research student £525
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £1,315
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £340
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £765

Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee (also known as research support costs) to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

Alumni discount

We offer a 20% discount to our alumni commencing study in Academic session 2020/21, on all Postgraduate Research and full Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes. This includes University of Glasgow graduates and those who have completed a Study Abroad programme or the Erasmus Programme at the University of Glasgow. This discount can be awarded alongside other University scholarships. 

Funding for EU students

The Scottish Government has confirmed that fees for EU students commencing their studies 2020/21 will be at the same level as those for UK student.

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Funding

The iPhD  is not supported by University of Glasgow Scholarship/Funding

 

 

Support

Resources

We have excellent facilities for lab, field and farm-based research.  This includes aquaria, aviaries, insectaries and labs for conducting analyses in:

  • bioinformatics
  • cellular physiology
  • developmental biology
  • evolutionary biology
  • endocrinology
  • molecular ecology
  • physiological ecology

We also have:

  • a state of the art field research centre on Loch Lomond (SCENE)
  • a university farm (Cochno) and research centre north of Glasgow
  • excellent computing facilities
  • a vibrant and supportive community of researchers
  • access to additional specialist facilities through our wide network of collaborators in NGOs, communities, government agencies and research institutes worldwide

Graduate School

The College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences Graduate School provides a vibrant, supportive and stimulating environment for all our postgraduate students. We aim to provide excellent support for our postgraduates through dedicated postgraduate convenors, highly trained supervisors and pastoral support for each student.
 
Our overarching aim is to provide a research training environment that includes:

  • provision of excellent facilities and cutting edge techniques
  • training in essential research and generic skills
  • excellence in supervision and mentoring
  • interactive discussion groups and seminars
  • an atmosphere that fosters critical cultural policy and research analysis
  • synergy between research groups and areas
  • extensive multidisciplinary and collaborative research
  • extensive external collaborations both within and beyond the UK 
  • a robust generic skills programme including opportunities in social and commercial training

Our excellent facilities and dedicated staff will equip you with training complementary to a range of career options, and you can tailor your study pathway to the precise aspects that suit your objectives. 

How to apply

Identify potential supervisors

All Postgraduate Research Students are allocated a supervisor* who will act as the main source of academic support and research mentoring. You may want to identify a potential supervisor and contact them to discuss your research proposal before you apply. Please note, even if you have spoken to an academic staff member about your proposal you still need to submit an online application form.

You can find relevant academic staff members with our staff research interests search.

*iPhD applicants do not need to contact a supervisor, as you will start your programme by choosing a masters from our Taught degree programmes A-Z [do not apply directly to a masters].


Gather your documents

Before applying please make sure you gather the following supporting documentation:

  1. Final or current degree transcripts including grades (and an official translation, if needed) – scanned copy in colour of the original document.
  2. Degree certificates (and an official translation, if needed): scanned copy in colour of the original document
  3. Two references on headed paper and signed by the referee. One must be academic, the other can be academic or professional [except iPhD applicants, where only one academic or professional reference is required]. References may be uploaded as part of the application form or you may enter your referees contact details on the application form. We will then email your referee and notify you when we receive the reference.  We can also accept confidential references direct to rio-researchadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk, from the referee’s university or business email account.
  4. Research proposal, CV, samples of written work as per requirements for each subject area. iPhD applicants do not need to submit any of these as you will start your programme by choosing a masters.

Notes for iPhD applicants

  • add 'I wish to study the MSc in (chosen subject) as the masters taught component of the iPhD' in the research proposal box
  • write 'n/a' for the supervisor name

Apply now

I've applied. What next?

If you have any other trouble accessing Applicant Self-Service, please see Application Troubleshooting/FAQs. 


Contact us

Before you apply

PhD/MSc/MD: email mvls-gradschool@glasgow.ac.uk

iPhD: email mvls-iphd@glasgow.ac.uk

After you have submitted your application

PhD/MSc/MD/iPhD: contact our Admissions team

Any references may be submitted by email to: rio-researchadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk